The Pesticide Industry’s Playbook for Poisoning the Earth
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: April 17th, 2023
In 2013, the European Union called for a temporary suspension of the most commonly used neonicotinoid-based products on flowering plants, citing the danger posed to bees — an effort that resulted in a permanent ban in 2018. In the U.S., however, industry dug in, seeking not only to discredit the research but to cast pesticide companies as a solution to the problem. Lobbying documents and emails ... show a sophisticated effort over the last decade by the pesticide industry to obstruct any effort to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. Bayer and Syngenta, the largest manufacturers of neonics, and Monsanto, one of the leading producers of seeds pretreated with neonics, cultivated ties with prominent academics ... and other scientists who had once called for a greater focus on the threat posed by pesticides. A study published in peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that the American landscape has become 48 times more toxic to insects since the 1990s, a shift largely fueled by the rising application of neonics. “Generally, we see the U.S. waiting longer than the EU to take action on a variety of pesticides and other chemicals,” said [Willa] Childress ... with Pesticide Action Network North America. Part of the divergence, Childress continued, stems from a regulatory system in the U.S. that assumes chemical products are generally safe until proven hazardous. In contrast, the EU tends to use the “precautionary principle,” removing products that may cause harm.
Note: Merchants of Poison: How Monsanto Sold the World on a Toxic Pesticide is a recent and comprehensive analysis of documents released in litigation against Monsanto and their dangerous use of glyphosate. These revealing documents expose years of pesticide industry disinformation, attacks on scientists and journalists, and Monsanto’s deep influence on US regulatory agencies to manipulate science and prioritize profits over public health. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science and in the food system from reliable major media sources.